The falling cost of solar panels and electric vehicles could halt growth in global demand for oil and coal from 2020, according to a new report.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London concluded that big energy companies are seriously underestimating low-carbon advances.

They calculated that the growth in electric vehicles usage alone could lead to two million barrels of oil per day being displaced by 2025, the same volume that caused the oil price collapse in 2014-15.

Under their scenarios, solar could supply 23% of global power generation in 2040 and 29% by 2050, entirely phasing out coal and leaving natural gas with just a 1% market share.

No more ‘business as usual’

Luke Sussams, Senior Researcher at Carbon Tracker Initiative, said: “Electric vehicles and solar power are game-changers that the fossil fuel industry consistently underestimates.

“Further innovation could make our scenarios look conservative in five years’ time, in which case the demand misread by companies will have been amplified even more.

“There is no more ‘business as usual’ in the energy sector – so it is time that scenario was discarded.”

> Read the report